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Kyoto Protocol

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken recently to persuade the Russian Federation to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. [117367]

In recent months, the UK, other EU member states and other countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, have pressed the importance of ratification on the Russians on many occasions at ministerial and official level. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister wrote to President Putin earlier this year urging ratification and the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, and the current President of the European Council, Costas Simitis, wrote more recently. President Putin's replies of 4 February and 9 May 2003 respectively stated that Russia hoped to be in a position to make a recommendation to the State Duma on the issue in the near future. We are now working more closely with Russia to address the technical issues surrounding Kyoto implementation. For example, last month the European Commission hosted a seminar for Russian and EU officials, which discussed these practical issues and the UK jointly funded with other European countries a seminar in Moscow on 'Implementing Kyoto'.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with representatives of (a) the US Administration and (b) the Australian Administration regarding the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. [117659]

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not recently discussed this issue with the US and Australian Administrations.The Government believe that the Kyoto Protocol, with its binding targets and timetables, is the only existing international framework for tackling climate change and take every opportunity to urge all countries that have not yet ratified it to do so as soon as possible.The Government are encouraged that although Australia will not be ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, it intends to meet its Kyoto Protocol target.We welcome the US's recognition that climate change is a serious problem and the fact that they are taking domestic action, although this will not result in the absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that the US would have been committed to make under the Kyoto Protocol.